Panasonic upgrades top compact to DMC-LX5

It's taken 2 years to get round to it but Panasonic has updated its top end compact camera and rechristened the device the Lumix DMC-LX5.

This super small, super light and super powerful little snapper now features an all new Summicron F2.0, 24mm, wide angle, Leica lens. On top of the clarity that already existed, it'll now let you zoom up to 3.8x which is equivalent to 90mm in old money.

To back up the improved kit, there's a better CCD image sensor at the helm as well. The 1/1.63-inch unit still works at 10.1-megapixel resolution, but the redesign has increased both the dynamic range - for a broader scale of exposure across the results - as well as deepened the colour saturation too. According to Panasonic it'll prove noiseless at ISO 800.

The LX5 will let you shoot HD movies in a number of different colour modes straight from the touch of a dedicated video button on camera. The files are captured as AVCHD Lite and you can view them direct over the HDMI-out.

Design-wise, the LX5 is a very similar creature to its predecessor, the LX3. The chassis size and shape is the same but there's now the addition of a thickened grip and jog wheel that you can use to scroll through options as well as select with a push.

Finally, Panasonic has added LED technology to the 3-inch LCD screen on the back to ensure that you get good results at lower power while still being able to see clear images in bright sunlight conditions. That said, you may have to wait until 2011 to test that one out. An autumn release for the LX5 will likely be accompanied by cloudier skies.

There's no price as yet but expect it to be nudging the Micro Four Thirds range somewhere, not much more than £400.



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